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Scholarly Articles in History: Scholarly Articles in History


This research guide will help you find scholarly articles in history.

If you get stuck at any point during your research, please come ask a librarian - we love to help students with research! You can email us, visit the reference desk, or try our online chat service. Links are in the boxes to the right.

1. Develop your search strategy

What words and phrases will you use to search for information?  When searching databases, keep the following in mind:

  • Combine at least two terms for more relevant results. (For example, searching for Iran will give you many results that are not relevant to your research questions. What do you want to know about Iran? Perhaps you will search for Iran and censorship or Iran and performance. Use the Advanced Search screen of a database to put your two terms in two different boxes).
  • Brainstorm a list of possible search terms.  Think about synonyms, broader terms, and narrower terms. 
  • Change or add terms as you go along.  As you learn more about your research question, pay attention to the terms used by scholars and in the database's subject headings.  

Screenshot of combining search terms

2. Choose a database

Databases are searchable collections of citations to articles. Different databases provide access to different kinds of information. Here are some good databases for scholarly articles in history: 

3. Limit your search to scholarly articles

Some database offer a checkbox that limits your search to peer-reviewed articles. 

Peer Reviewed check box


If you're in a database that doesn't have this option, you can visit the journal's website. If it is a scholarly or peer-reviewed (also called refereed) journal, it will usually say so.

For example, from the website of the journal Global Media and Communication:  

Screenshot from website with "peer reviewed" underlined


4. Examine your results

See a title that looks interesting? Click on it to see the full record.  The full record can tell you a lot about an article, including:

  • Journal title: You can usually click on the journal title to learn more about it and see other articles published there.
  • Year published:  The age of an article may affect how you evaluate and discuss it.
  • Length:  If it's only a few pages, it might be a book review or popular article, rather than a scholarly article.
  • Subject headings:  In addition to telling you more about what's in the article, subject headings can give you ideas for new search terms.
  • Abstract: Read this summary of the article to help you decide whether it is relevant to your needs.

Screenshot of a full record

5. Get articles

Congratulations, you've found a relevant article!  How can you save the citation for later?  How can you get the full text?

Saving the citation

Most databases have some buttons along the right-hand sidebar that allow you to print a citation, email it yourself, generate a formatted citation (always check it for accuracy), and more. You can use one of these, or simply copy down the citation information:

  • Author of article
  • Article title
  • Journal title
  • Volume number
  • Issue number
  • Year
  • Page numbers

Screenshot of EBSCO sidebar

Getting the full text

When you find a citation in a database, the full text of the article can be in one of three places.

1.  It might be right there in the database.  You will see a link to the full text as a PDF or HTML document.  Easy!

Screenshot of PDF logo

2.  The library might have access to the article through another one of our databases or in print.  In that case, you will see a blue-and-green "Full Text Through LinkSource" link. Click on it to navigate to the database that contains the article. 

Screenshot of LinkSource logo

3.  The TLU Library might not have access to the article. In that case, you can request the article through Interlibrary Loan.  We will attempt to borrow it for you from another library. There is no charge for this service.  Articles take an average is 4 days to arrive, with some arriving quicker and some taking longer. Click the Interlibrary Loan link to fill out the interlibrary loan request form.

Screenshot of ILL logo

6. Track your Sources

How will you track and organize the information you find in each source? Putting a system in place now will make it much easier to synthesize the research you have done. Some options are index cards, electronic tools like NoodleBib or Zotero, or worksheets like this one.

See all our History guides

Subject Guide

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Amelia Koford
Library Office 115

Ask a Librarian

Reference desk

TLU librarians offer in-depth research help.


During library open hours, ask at the main desk for help finding what you need or help setting up an appointment with a librarian. 



Click on the Ask a Question tab on the right side of a library web page. It will bring you either to live chat, or to a place where you can leave a message. 


830-372-8100 (main desk)

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